Centered on the eponymous trade hub, The Serene Duchy of Aeldrum is one of the major trade and military powers in the cosmos. The political elite of Aeldrum are heavily entangled with the affairs of the Aeldrum Trade Company, and the Duchy's Serene Parliament has a formal stake in the company.

Government Edit

Serene Doge and Parliament Edit

The Serene Duchy is ruled by a Serene Doge, who holds the sole power to introduce most legislation. The Doge can act unilaterally with respect to tariffs, most domestic policy and all diplomatic policy except for military action. To commit military or police acts, the Doge must receive a two-thirds majority vote of support from the Serene Parliament, which formally controls all armed forces. Military or police action is also the only act that the Parliament can commit unilaterally.

Only High Elves may stand for Parliament or the office of Serene Doge, but humans as well as elves have the right to vote. More specifically, only Elves that are descendants of the original population of elvish exiles can stand for major office.

In all cases, the Doge‘s legislation can be scuttled by a majority vote, or he can be deposed and a snap election called by a two-thirds vote of the Serene Parliament. A plurality of the Parliament can call for such a vote, whereupon all parliament members are ordered to participate on pain of arrest by the Parliamentary Guard.

The Serene Doge rules for a term of ten years, and he is voted into power by a majority of the Aeldrum votes in the Serene Parliament (i.e. excluding the votes of core worlds and colonial possessions). The Doge may never be elected twice in a row, but he may hold the office an indefinite number of non-consecutive times.

A deposed Doge may never run again. The Parliament, in turn, is elected by the citizens of Aeldrum, though only High Elves can stand for office. Members of parliament hold their positions for ten years and can be re-elected indefinitely.

The Spire Doges Edit

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Colonies and Protectorates (The "Greater Aeldman Commonwealth") Edit

As Aeldrum has risen in power, so too has its influence over other Pocket Dimensions.

A number of nearby dimensions are direct colonies of Aeldrum. These are generally governed under even more despotic rule than Aeldrum itself. Depending on the manner in which the planet was conquered, control of the planet may be handed to a military official or a governor appointed by the ATC. Military government generally leads to the enforcement of a more privileged version of the laws on Aeldrum itself. Slavery, long term indenture, debtor's prison, and similar practices frowned upon by the more enlightened gentry on Aeldrum itself are practiced widely in the military colonies. ATC colonies are at once more and less exploitative than their military counterparts. While their slave populations are vastly larger, in order to support the mineral extraction and plantation farming, the upper classes in the colonies are far less stratified. The newly wealthy and powerful among the lesser Elves and Humans often move to the colonies and purchase shares in the local government, giving them a far greater say in policy than they could accomplish in the home country.

The most noteworthy and troublesome of the direct colonies was Ireland, which until achieving independence in 357 was known for its periodic revolts and history of independence movements. Despite this, Ireland produced some of the most famed soldiers in the Aeldman service (when the Irish populace were not fighting for independence or greater civil liberties).

Aeldrum Trade Company Edit

Main article: Aeldrum Trade Company

The Aeldrum Trade Company is essentially a branch of government unto itself. Riddled with countless semi-private armies, navies and fiefdoms, the ATC is notoriously corrupt and has been on the decline for decades. But its greatest rival, the Bishant Trade Company[1], fared even worse, lessening some competitive pressure.

The opening of the Trans-Celestial Trade Route, though effectuated by the Knights Mercantile, was seized on by the ATC through the guile of the late Auric Vintel, who in many ways helped dramatically revive the company. Following his death and the death of his close associate Cassander Crowley, many operatives sought to replace him, and a clandestine war of succession still rages today among those who see themselves as his successor.

Military Edit

Aeldrum's army and police forces are organized predominantly around a policy of careful balance, meant to prevent a coup.

He fights for Aeldrum

Aeldrum Dragoons Edit

Main article: The Aeldrum Dragoons

The Aeldrum Dragoons are the elite forces of the Serene Duchy. They answer to the Serene Doge of Aeldrum (who doubles as the Doge of the Aeldrum Spire) and fight not for the Serene Duchy as a whole but for the Aeldrum Spire itself. The Dragoons may be deployed unilaterally by the Serene Doge in any "colonial" conflict outside Aeldrum and the core worlds (i.e. against insurgents and locals not recognized as a state by the Parliament), but they may not be deployed against recognized states or on Aeldrum or her core worlds without an act of Parliament approved by the Doge.

The only exception to this division of power is if the Aeldrum Spire itself is under attack and the Serene Doge has declared a state of emergency within the spire: this power has been invoked once in the history of the Serene Duchy, during the Great Galthad Rebellion (255 after Unification, so named to distinguish it from various minor spats) when Galthadi extremists bombed rail lines to the Aeldrum Spire. While technically outside the spire itself, this attack was interpreted as sufficient cause for a state of emergency and used by the Serene Doge to bypass Parliament and launch the "Raking of Galthad," in which the Aeldrum Dragoons infamously brought the Galthad spire to heel, securing "confessions" of support for the rebels from Galthadi dissidents at gunpoint. Though Parliament overturned most of these forced confessions and subsequently brought several Dragoon officers up on charges amounting to war crimes under Aeldman law, only junior Dragoon officers were ever convicted and Galthadis executed during the Raking were not posthumously pardoned. Parliament subsequently voted itself the right to curtail the geographic sphere of a state of emergency.

Parliamentary Guard Edit

The Parliamentary Guard is a military police force mustered and maintained directly by the Parliamentary Purse: unlike the Aeldrum Dragoons, who cannot be deployed on Aeldrum or her core worlds without an act of Parliament approved by the Doge, or the ARC (below) who act at the discretion of local governors, the Parliamentary Guard may be deployed on Aeldrum and the Core by an act of Parliament without the Doge's approval: this includes indefinite deployments in customs enforcement and other security roles. In further contrast to the Dragoons, the Guard may not be deployed in foreign or colonial conflicts. The Guard typically serves a security role around Parliamentary buildings and etheric ports.

Senior officers (major and above) of the Parliamentary Guard are proposed to Parliament and confirmed by general vote. Unlike the Dragoons, there is no requirement that senior officers have prior Guard experience: many an ATC officer has retired from colonial life to a Guard command. In further contrast to the Dragoons, the Guard does not recruit its members as adolescents; most enlisted men and women join as adults, though a small "junior corps" does exist. Whereas Dragoons take a lifetime contract, Parliamentary Guardsmen serve for ten-year stints. Unlike the more cosmopolitan ATC or ARC, the Guard requires that all of its soldiers be citizens of Aeldrum, and officers must be born on Aeldrum or her core worlds.

Despite its somewhat sleepy reputation compared with the fearsome (or downright psychotic) Dragoons, the Guard retains an elevated status compared with ATC forces and various planetary constabulary forces in that all guardsmen are citizens, literate, reliably trained to maintain and discharge their weapons and required to submit to regular drug testing.

Parliamentary Navy Edit

While Aeldrum has no independent air force (the Dragoons, the Parliamentary Guard, the ATC and the Republican Constabulary each raise their own air forces under varying levels of restriction), it does possess an independent military navy which operates parallel to the considerably larger merchant navy of the Aeldrum Trade Company. The Parliamentary Navy, like the Guard, is funded by Parliament and its senior officers confirmed by Parliamentary vote. While the Serene Duchy allows the ATC and other licensed entities (such as major guilds) to maintain frigate and cruiser class ships for the protection of commercial interests, only the Parliamentary Navy may field battleships.

Aeldrum Republican Constabulary Edit

The ARC make up the majority of regular forces under arms who are answerable to local republican authorities (e.g. a planetary governor) but ultimately the Serene Doge and the Parliament (thus not counting the countless members of the ATC). Split between patrolling the streets preventing minor crimes and providing security guards for low and middle priority installations, the "Archies" are the most prevalent face of the Aeldrum government, though perhaps not the most high profile.

ARC Q-Division Edit

Ostensibly, Q-Division home to the Constabulary's homicide detectives. However, its true purpose is to serve as the Parliament's counter-intelligence agency. "Q-tips," as they are somewhat affectionately known in the Constabulary, are responsible for everything from high profile murder cases and assassinations to foiling foreign plots.

With the politicization of national intelligence, each truly powerful Aeldrum family keeps its own spy network. Q-division detectives often work unofficially with these networks, trading information for aid in carrying out their priorities and reaching the unreachable.

Aeldrum Volunteer Army Edit

In times of crisis, the Doge of Aeldrum will issue a decree calling on the able bodied men of each spire to take up arms in defense of Aeldrum. With the ATC supplying Aeldrum's colonial forces, and the Dragoons providing specialized applications of force for the sake of Aeldman policy, it is very rare that any "volunteers" are taken; however, should the need arise, the Serene Doge may request that the Parliament raise new regiments either through volunteer recruitment or a draft.

Aeldrum Trade Company Edit

The Aeldrum Trade Company raises forces of wildly varying composition, function and quality to protect or extend its colonial interests. The ATC even has regiments on the books raised entirely from various native populations with only an elvish C.O.

Society Edit

The Serene Duchy has a socially as well as legally significant racial hierarchy, presented here in descending order:

High Elves Edit

High Elves are those who can legally prove their pure elvish ancestry to the third generation and who have at least one demonstrable ancestor among the original elvish exiles who settled the Aeldrum Spire. They make up approximately half of the elvish population, or ten percent of the total citizen population.

There exists a separate criminal and civil code for the high elves, guaranteeing them a jury of other high elves (as opposed to the typical magisterial courts) for all crimes, and standards of evidence for testimony by non-high elves against members of this caste are extremely rigorous. Likewise, they have the option to settle most criminal matters with a civil payment.

  • Purebred High Elves: High Elves who can directly trace their lineage to the first exiles patrilineally as well as matrilineally. The Purebred High Elves are eligible for titles of nobility and hereditary seats in the Serene Parliament. The Serene Doge must be Purebred, and all other spires except Galthad and Estonne have the same requirements for their doges.
  • Basebred High Elves: High elves who meet the racial requirements for the status and have at least one exile ancestor but cannot draw a direct line back to the first settlers through both parents.
    • Historically, some elves of lower castes have been awarded this status by a formal decree asserting that they are descended from a particular exile, usually the ancestor of a significant dynasty (and usually the dynasty backing the decree). This process often amounted to a political adoption, and it was a means of caste ascension for wealthy merchants (many of them minted in the early days of the Aeldrum Trade Company). This technique became highly controversial, however, and it has fallen into disuse in the last half-century over fears of "dilution".
    • Though Basebred High Elves do not have the right to hold major political office, any children between a basebred and a purebred will fit the definition of purebred once more. Likewise, any elf born of a basebred high elf and a lower caste elf is considered basebred.

Elves Edit

Elves who cannot prove any ancestral ties to the exiles are not legally entitled to the protections of the High Code, but they do receive certain privileges. Elves may own property in restricted communities within the Spires, they may openly carry long blades and pistols, they may hold restricted trade licenses and bid in state mercantile auctions and crimes against them are punished more severely.

Elves can prove their racial status by demonstrating that they are at least a century old and still "youthful" (within the judgment of a magistrate) or that both of their parents had elvish status.

Half-Elves and Humans Edit

Half-Elves and humans are the lowest caste permitted to hold the title of "Aeldman," meaning a formal citizen of the Duchy. Aeldmen are given the right to trial and legal representation (though this representation is not subsidized by the state) and bankruptcy protection (as opposed to indentured servitude), and they are also permitted to vote in parliamentary elections, own weapons and hold military positions.

Dwarves, Orcs, Others Edit

Non-elves and non-humans do not have any political or legal rights. In colonial states, they can be held as slaves. This has produced no shortage of criticism from other great powers. As a concession, recent legal revisions by Parliament have allowed citizens to construct business partnerships that extend legal protections to non-citizens: this approach remains controversial and inconsistently applied.

Enemies Edit

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The Second Imperium Edit

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The Second Imperium and the Duchy are extremely wary of each other.

Notes Edit

  1. The BTC was the state trade company of the Shantine Empire, whose humiliating defeat by Fialta forces essentially gave birth to the Second Fialta Imperium. The Shantine Empire is still a cosmic power, but very much a third fiddle to Aeldrum and the Second Imperium)